Odds and quads

A 17th-century priest's chasuble in hand-made gros point lace and a blue sample from a 20th-century design portfolio are among the objects, documents and artefacts, some 75,000 in number, held in the lace archive at Nottingham Trent University's School of Art and Design.

January 10, 2013

The Nottingham School of Art - a forerunner of NTU - was established in 1843 to provide the industry with designers as lace became a symbol of high fashion, good living and well-dressed homes. At its peak in the early 20th century, there were more than 130 factories, employing some 25,000 workers, in the city's Lace Market area. Yet when tastes shifted towards easy-care synthetic fibres, demand declined swiftly.

The archive, which charts the rise and fall of Nottingham's lace-making history, has been acquired by the university over many years thanks to bequests - cuffs, bonnets and collars; garments and garment panels - from local manufacturers and individuals. It also includes portfolios of lace from Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Spain and Switzerland. Long accessible to students and researchers, it has recently been opened to the public for the first time via a series of events titled Lace: Here: Now.

Send suggestions for this series on the treasures, oddities and curiosities owned by universities across the world to matthew.reisz@tsleducation.com.

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